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How is a nuclear accident insured in the Netherlands?

Dec. 20, 2020
2 min reading time
The damage from the seaquake and tsunami in Japan has already exceeded one hundred billion euros. With the threat of a disaster involving nuclear power plants, this amount could rise even higher. This raises the question of how nuclear risks are insured in our own country.

The damage from the seaquake and tsunami in Japan has already exceeded one hundred billion euros. With the threat of a disaster involving nuclear power plants, this amount could rise even higher. This raises the question of how nuclear risks are insured in our own country.

In an "ordinary" traffic accident, the victim can sue the perpetrator in tort and, in many cases, can fall back on his or her own insurance such as health or accident insurance. A victim of a nuclear accident usually has no recourse to insurance. Damage resulting from a nuclear accident is almost always excluded from insurance coverage. But the victim need not be empty-handed in these cases.

When the first nuclear reactors were built, insurers recognized that the costs of nuclear catastrophes are hard to estimate. For this reason, insurers worldwide established national Atomic Pools. For each country, a group of insurance companies provides coverage through an Atomic Pool for the liability that would arise in the event of a nuclear disaster.

In the Netherlands, 16 insurance companies guarantee about six risks. These include EPZ (Borssele), COVRA (Vlissingen), NRG/ECN (Petten), GKN (former Doodewaard plant), Research Reactor TU Delft, Urenco (Almelo).
The amount for which these companies have insured liability varies for each nuclear facility. In the Netherlands, this was determined by the Ministry of Finance based on the estimation of the risk. The limits vary from €22.7 million to €340 million. The government guarantees the excess and damages not covered in the Liability Insurance.

Source: Dutch Association of Insurers

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